Do Meta Tags Matter in 2016?

April 25th, 2016

Meta tags used to play a primary role in SEO and was a major factor in how search engines placed sites in their results. If done carefully and precisely, the time spent on perfecting meta tags would pay off in placement. Is this still the case in 2016? To simplify, the answer is no, not so much. It seems the primary factors in placement today have to do with reputation of high-quality content, relevance, user experience, and popularity.

Does this mean meta tags should be discounted completely now? Again, the answer is no. Your meta title and meta description tags are still used by the major search engines to display your site in their results. Which tags matter in today’s SEO world?

  • Title – In the past years, the <title> element, though technically not a meta tag, defined the heading that your page was listed in search results. Even though Bing and Google will sometimes generate their own to ensure results are relevant to specific search queries, it’s highly recommended that you still include a unique title.
  • Keywords – Google and Bing have both confirmed that they no longer use the meta keywords tag in their algorithms. In spite of this, you’ll still find these fields in many Content Management Systems, though they will likely gradually be removed over the coming years.
  • Description – Though modern search engines now use it mainly for display purposes, the meta description tag is still important. Google will sometimes generate its own description, ignoring your mete description tag entirely if it doesn’t feel it relates directly to the search query. This might include a mixture of content from your website as well as external sources. It’s still recommend that you provide a well-crafted meta description as it may still be used in search results.

So with all that said, it’s now time to shift some focus to user experience by generating engaging content that presents well across all  possible devices. Continue writing unique meta title and meta description tags as they could still be used to display your site in search engine results but don’t be alarmed if they are ignored. Don’t waste any energy on the meta keywords tags.

What do you mean ignore my PageRank?

October 30th, 2009

All of us in the SEO world received a big shock when we read the rather startling news from Google Webmaster Trends Analyst Susan Moskwa that Google has removed PageRank from their Webmaster Tools.

We’ve been telling people for a long time that they shouldn’t focus on PageRank so much; many site owners seem to think it’s the most important metric for them to track, which is simply not true,” states Moskwa. “We removed it because we felt it was silly to tell people not to think about it, but then to show them the data, implying that they should look at it.” (Source: WebProNews)

We’ve all been eagerly watching our PageRank in the Google toolbar as we make adjustments to our sites and wait for the spiders to go to work. But this revelation from Google doesn’t mean you should completely ignore PageRank now. Higher PageRank means more business, more business means more income. Whether Google is or is not using PageRank, people are still looking at it.

A site with a PR of 7 will still be much more respected than a site with a PR of 2. Link building strategists will still be placing higher precedence, and monetary value on higher PR sites. The Google frowned-upon practice of selling links is still in full-swing and to stop it will be a hard battle to win, even with eliminating PageRank all together.

Now, yes, you can have a lower PR and still come up better in the SERPs (Search Engine Results Pages) than sites with higher PR. Google states that PageRank is only one of about 200 ranking factors which determine how Google ranks its index for keywords.

Google controls roughly 80% of all search engine traffic, and for that they have been established unmatched credibility and brand recognition. Web users and SEO experts alike believe what Google is telling them. PageRank is Google’s ranking system, which means it still holds immense power and influence. PageRank is basically Google’s opinion of your site, and we can all count to ten. So as long as we can all see PageRank, it’s power will remain.

Position Your Business For The Economic Recovery

August 6th, 2009

As we start to see signs that the economy is turning around, businesses should think about positioning themselves to take advantage.   There is an opportunity to acquire new business and expand interaction with current clients.  Signs of recovery are still faint but unmistakable.  Ford posted the first monthly gain in sales compared to the previous year in July.  The DOW is up a couple of thousand points in recent months.  Most indicators are pointing toward a start to the recovery.

Positioning your business, of course, is specific to your particular business model and objectives.  Things you might need to consider, when it comes to your website, include search engine positioning, usability of your website, ecommerce options, and visual attractiveness of your site.  Be sure your website is doing the job you need it to do.

As new business starts to become available, whether you  are in real estate, retail, wholesale or the service industry, companies are going to be competing for that business.  Be sure you are well positioned to compete for the new business.

The ‘Organic’ movement has reached SEO

July 29th, 2009

You can’t go grocery shopping anymore without seeing all of the organic options for the products you went to purchase. Well, being organic is not only for groceries, it’s for website, too.

In a nutshell, organic seo is more focused on content-driven optimization, versus the previously popular technology-driven optimization. Anymore, SEO tricks will more-than-likely get you blacklisted than help you. It seems that if you optimize your site for usability, or so that the user experience is optimal, you will fare better in the search engines than if you use a technical approach. Now, saying that, you should still make sure you meet the search engine requirements for what ever engine you are going to submit your site to. Users will probably care little for what your Meta Title and Description says, though they are very important to the search engines. There are some basic technological requirements for good SEO that should not be overlooked.

A simple example is to use H1 tags for your headlines, bold your keywords that are in your body of content text, and have your text read in a grammatically correct fashion (an excellent way to test your content is to read it to yourself out loud or to another person and make sure it sounds like normal conversation). If your content sounds funny or doesn’t make sense because you’ve stuffed keywords all over the place, change it before you submit your site. Also you want to add links to your other pages and use keywords in the link text that relate to those pages’ content. Not only does this look good to anyone viewing your site, but the search engines can see your main point of the page and important words to see the overall theme of the page.

This approach can make your site optimization a bit easier and will end up helping you in the long run. There’s a lot to learn about organic seo out there, this purpose of this post is just to spread some awareness.

Search engine optimization – who should I use?

June 9th, 2009

By now, we all know that search engine optimization (SEO) is extremely important for your site to rank well against the competition. But where do you find someone who can do it for you? If you do a Google search for “seo services”, you get about 39,600,000 results. It could take you a while to sift through those results and find a competent and skilled SEO consultant that you’re comfortable with.

There are several factors to take into consideration when hiring someone for SEO:

Safety: With the unbelievable amount of unsolicited email traffic claiming to be able to get you to the top of a Google search, you have to be careful who you choose to do business with. Some of these ‘companies’ claim to be able to get you to the top with only (insert random amount of money here) down and access to your site so they can “optimize” it. They may be legitimate, but they may not be, and only want access to your site to upload their own harmful scripts, or worse, to your server.

Familiarity: Obviously, familiarity is one thing to consider. If you are Googling for SEO leads, then you will most-likely be working with someone new to you. This presents a lot of initial concerns, such as not being familiar with their integrity or work ethic, as touched on above.

Middle-man: Having a third party SEO firm puts you in the middle of them and your web developers. You become the ‘go-between’ of both firms, trying to relay, sometimes very technical and detailed, information back and forth.

Lag Time: The above factor often leads to this factor, how much time it will take to get the optimizations done if you are stuck in the middle. Often, the SEO firm will have to gain access to your website files to make changes, or get the precise adjustments into the hands of the developers and hope they get them right.

These are just a few of the many things that you have to think about when looking to hire someone for SEO.

Here at RAM Designs, we’ve taken all this into consideration and have a certified SEO Consultant on staff. We feel that our clients are already familiar with us and our work ethic, so there’s already a level of comfortability established. There’s no middle-man as we communicate directly with you on what we are doing and things that need to be done. Being the web-developers, we have direct access to your website files and we can publish the optimized files immediately upon completion.

If you are a current customer and are looking for SEO or you’re not a customer, but have a site that needs some SEO work, check out our SEO services or contact us today!

RAM Designs launches our new website!

June 1st, 2009

Welcome to the RAM Designs blog.  I hope you are enjoying our new website, launched on June 5, 2009.  Please be sure to let us know what you think of the site, if you find it useful or if you experience any difficulties.

Be sure to check out the new SEO section.  We now have a certified SEO expert on staff to assist our clients in getting their sites optimized for search engine placement.

RAM Designs customers can pay their invoices online, as they have in the past, from the Client Area.